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Originally published January 4, 2013 at 11:00 AM | Page modified January 4, 2013 at 12:15 PM

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A look into the NW gardening 2013 crystal ball

"People are seeking happiness in ordinary things by channeling the forces of nature and the life-enriching benefits of plants."

Special to The Seattle Times

Local news partner - Plant Talk

Valerie Easton writes in her blog about gardens and the people who make them.

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THE GARDEN Media Group revealed its trends report for 2013, weirdly dubbed "The Year of Bliss." GMG's president, Susan McCoy, explains: "People are seeking happiness in ordinary things by channeling the forces of nature and the life-enriching benefits of plants." So here's what the group has to say on a variety of topics:

The big picture

• Herbs are likely the "next hot edible."

• "Yellow is the new pink." Trending colors mimic nature and evoke positive emotions. Expect metallics, combined with brown and gray, in garden accessories.

• Gardeners are more interested in native plants and environmentally safe solutions for weed and pest control.

• Air plants are the new terrariums.

Drought-tolerant plants like succulents, ornamental grasses and natives continue to be popular in the quest to save water.

Community gardens, CSAs and farmers markets are becoming our new grocery stores.

... and around here

Sylvia Matlock, co-owner of the ever-stylish DIG Nursery on Vashon Island, looks into her garden gazing ball for 2013:

• Lower maintenance remains the No. 1 topic for gardeners.

• People aren't as keen on the newest, hottest plants. It's more about seasonal interest and curation (selecting the best plants for specific situations).

• Plants that seduce, like double lilies and colorful zinnias, will still sell well.

• People are into houseplants because they clean the air and bring nature indoors.

• Gardeners love containers planted for specific conditions, like sun, shade or drought.

"Buy local" isn't just about food anymore

It's been a tough few years for local nurseries. They do most of their business in springtime. But remember how cold, wet and miserable the past few springs have been? Nurseries never quite make up the loss of customers on those soggy weekends, a setback that ripples down to local and regional growers.

To continue to enjoy the plant diversity we expect, we need to buy local. From Morton's Raintree Nursery, with its selection of fruit suited to our climate, to hardy succulents at Desert Northwest in Sequim, the Northwest is rich in specialty growers.

Big-box stores may have cheaper plants, but they don't have salespeople with the knowledge and time to answer questions. Local nurseries are known for their unusual plants, helpful signage and customer service. Many feature cafes, shops and seasonal displays. But these destination nurseries will only be there if we buy their plants as well as enjoy the ambience.

Local flowers, too

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing in our local flower farmers. Last fall, the farm-to-florist cooperative known as the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market received a $138,000 Specialty Crop Block Grant from the USDA.

Washington is already the second-largest cut-flower-growing state in the nation. Now we'll have an expanded selection of locally grown flowers available in markets, shops and groceries.

Want to break your lilies-in-winter habit? Request local flowers from florists and shops, and visit the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market on Friday afternoons when the public is invited (www.seattlewholesalegrowersmarket). If there ever were a reason to buy flowers doused in chemicals and shipped halfway around the world, surely there isn't any longer.

Happy new year

I wish you a year filled with flowers, birdsong, honeybees, sunshine and regular rainfall. And may your tomatoes ripen well before first frost.

Valerie Easton is a Seattle freelance writer and author of "petal & twig." Check out her blog at www.valeaston.com.

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